By JUSTINA ZIEGLER
Pima Community College police officers have been taking a more community-oriented approach while patrolling PCC campuses.
Pima Police Chief Christopher Albers says he has adopted an “old beat cop” approach for his officers, which helps them to develop relationships with the campus communities they cover.
“All of our officers are engaged in community policing,” Albers said. “They patrol regular campus beats, and spend more time interacting with students, faculty and staff on their campus. The quality of their relationship with the community is exceedingly important. This approach also increases their presence without increasing hours.”
Albers said that police model is the best approach for two reasons: It’s better for the officers and the community, and it takes into consideration the college’s significant budget cuts in various departments.
“Our goal is to keep campus safe so the college can carry on its mission,” Albers said.
Pima officers have kept campus crime rates low and maintained a high level of security for students.
“Our crime statistics are extremely low,” Albers said. “No violent crimes, here and there a couple car thefts, no robberies. Most of the crimes reported are property crimes, people leaving their stuff unattended. Compared to some of the surrounding communities, Pima campuses are a haven of safety and tranquility.”
Albers said the Pima police have a solid network of resources to help solve student problems including strong ties to community mental health offices, student conduct and the Pima veterans office.
“We also continue to work with local first responders addressing issues in the community, and have close ties to local police and fire stations in managing our response to emergencies,” Albers said.
He said all Pima officers take part in ongoing training, including training in active shooter situations.
“We’re making a lot of strides forward with new technology and developing the department to the level the college expects,” Albers said. “A lot is dependent on funding, it comes down to Pima enrollment. We adapt to reality; ‘adapt and overcome,’ as the Marine Corp says. We provide the highest level of service that we can.”
Albers has some advice on personal safety for anyone in the community.
“Decisions you make are extremely important in personal safety, as is situational awareness,” Albers said. “Psychologists did a study of muggers in New York City trying to figure out who muggers targeted. They targeted people who were oblivious; head down, eyes to the pavement. That sends a message that you are prey. Predators look for the weak, the distracted.”
Pima also has a mass notification system that quickly notifies any person that signs up for it of any security issue that arises.
If anyone does not feel safe on campus, Albers wants to know.
“Anyone can email or call me,” Albers said. “Any cares, concerns, questions; I have an open-door policy and welcome input.”
“Students can come talk to any of us,” Albers said. “If a student does not feel safe on campus, we want to know. We have safety escorts that can walk them to their car. If they have something going on off-campus, like a domestic situation, they can report it to us. We want to help.”
Pima Police can be reached at 206-2700, and Chief Albers’ email is email@example.com.